Behind the Brand - Tasi Travels
Tasi Travels is a perfect reminder that style doesn't have to be compromised when working towards a more conscious wardrobe.
Joining the growing movement behind hand-crafted, artisan, quality pieces and processes, they're a small team helping pave the way for better standards in the fashion industry. Each item of the women's travel wear label is made to order from a beautiful textile called Tencel, which is one of the most environmentally friendly fabrics available.
Tasi pieces are a perfect combination of shapes, details and colours that will last a lifetime of travels and don't harm the environment in their ethical production.
Dropping into Tasi's HQ, I got a peak into the creative mind behind the brand, Jessica Abraham and the ethos and process that goes into making the label's timeless garments.
Watch the above video to hear the Tasi Travels story and see behind the scenes of the Moffat Beach studio.
What’s the story behind the brand?
Tasi was born from a comment I made off-handedly late last year when I was travelling in East Timor. Timor is a beautiful country, but has a difficult climate - it's in the high 30 degrees, but is also very conservative so you need to be covered up. I'd found it really hard to pack for the trip, nothing I owned was right - it either wrinkled, or was an awful thick material, or was too low-cut. I ended up buying some things from an op-shop, but it was all pretty ugly too. I mentioned to the girls that I was travelling with that I wished it was easier to find well-made travel clothing, and that was it I guess..
Tasi means "ocean" in the Timorese language, Tetun, and combines minimalism, practicality and style. It's a very small collection, so the idea that you can go away with just a few items and that's all you'll need for your trip, no matter how long you're gone. Our fabric is called Tencel and is incredible, it doesn't wrinkle and dries quickly, so it's perfect for travel!
What’s your background and how did it lead you to what you do now?
My background is a pretty weird mix of things; I've always been incredibly environmentally minded and have pretty active in that space since my early teens. When I graduated high school I started studying Environmental & Marine Science, but deferred after a year when I felt that university wasn't right for me. At the time I was running Tidal Magazine, an independent publication showcasing young creatives that I ran for four years. Professionally I've worked the last few years in marketing and graphic design, and now fashion design!
Where do you call home and what's it like running a business there?
I live in Moffat Beach on the Sunshine Coast and it is actually paradise. Lifestyle is really important for me, and living and working in Moffs definitely allows that. I'm always up at sunrise for a surf, swim, walk or coffee down the beach (sometimes all of these things), before heading into my warehouse.
This has made a huge difference to my life - I worked from home for a couple of years, and while it definitely had it's amazing moments, towards the end I had no work/life balance and wasn't producing good work, despite the fact I felt like I was "at work" from early morning until late in the evening.
As a creative/free spirit what are your essentials to keeping fresh/motivated?
It'll probably come up in every answer haha but the ocean is so important to me! Both for my physical and mental health, but also for my creativity. I also try and surround myself with great people; I am so fortunate to have so many talented, kind, passionate, smart, supportive people in my life and they drive me to want to do better. Travel is also really important to me, it's always where I find my biggest clarity and inspiration. I'm a vanlifer so try and get away every month or so.
Thinking back to when you started the business what’s one piece of advice you’d give yourself then?
I think I would tell myself to always trust my gut. I'm naturally pretty intuitive and that has definitely become even stronger since starting Tasi, but there were times early on that I didn't allow myself to stop and sit with a decision first before moving forward and I should have. Human beings naturally have so much intuitive power and the more you listen to it, the stronger it gets. Particularly people in business who are constantly having to answer a million questions and make a million decisions a day - if something or someone doesn't feel right, don't do it. Likewise, even if an idea seems crazy or you don't know how it will work but you just have this strong feeling it's the right thing, do it.
Do you have any tips for people trying to become more of a mindful/conscious consumer?
Consuming mindfully to me means knowing where your purchases come from, who made them and what they're made from. They're basic principles, but the good majority of us wouldn't be able to answer all three questions of our clothing (scarily enough most major brands couldn't answer them about their own clothes either). I find it just easier to steer clear of the massive brands and chain stores - smaller, independent brands are generally far more transparent about their manufacturing. Always buy natural fabrics if you can (Tencel, organic cotton, hemp, bamboo) and the biggest one we can all do is just to consume less. Ask yourself why you're buying something; do you really need it? Will you wear it more than once? Do you know enough about how that garment was made?
You're an amazing advocate around mental health and running a business. How do you try keep on top of this and any tips on maintaining a work/life balance?
Thank you, I definitely haven't always been this way! Unfortunately I had to go through pretty awful burnout in order to realise I had my priorities all wrong and something had to change if I was going to continue to be a functional human. Being organised has made a massive difference; I always try to sit down and spend some time planning out my week, my month and even my year. Knowing what's coming up, what days I need to work on what and looking at the bigger picture helps me make far better use of my time. I'm a big fan of working less, but working smarter.
Other than that it's just so important to make sure you're making time for all the things your soul needs. I know that I'm useless and not fun to be around if I haven't been in the ocean, so I make that a priority. I listen to my body, if there's a day when I am really struggling to work and I'm tired and not motivated, then I'll just leave for the day. There's no point me wasting a whole day achieving nothing, I'll just go down to the beach and have a couple of hours of sunshine and then start work again in a better head space. I love my business but I won't sacrifice my physical and mental health for it, so that's always number one to me.